Whether it's those daring Mini Cooper S triplets starring in the movie The Italian Job, or the car that peeks out from a New Yorker cartoon, Mini means fun and often irreverence.
Mini USA, BMW's entry in the growing compact sport segment, has turned heads with out-there advertising: the Mini posing perkily atop an SUV, or in the stands at a professional football game.
Jack Pitney, general manager of Mini USA, says the hot-selling small car from Great Britain will continue to use media, especially magazines and outdoor advertising, in a non-traditional way this year.
The goal is to create a brand icon.
The Mini has a great start. The new model is the successor to one of the best-selling and most influential cars in history, the BMC Mini that debuted in 1959 and was in production for 41 years.
"The future is very small," says Pitney, alluding to the fact that the Mini is the smallest car on sale in America at 142 inches long and 75.8 inches wide, yet is capable of accommodating a 6-foot-3-inch driver and two to three passengers.
The $16,975 Mini Cooper and the 163-hp $19,975 Mini Cooper S arrived in 2002 after the brand's 36-year absence from the U.S. market. A convertible Cooper S joins the lineup in 2004.